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  1. Hope Christian Soldiers ambush Lyceum Pirates, 95-65

    By: Paolo Manuel C. Fule
    Right from the get-go, the juggernaut Hope Christian High School Soldiers routed the Lyceum of the Philippines Junior Pirates, 95-65 during the Metro Manila Basketball League (MMBL) tournament held at San Beda College Gym, November 29.
    Relentless pounding from the inside kept HCHS at bay against their opponent LPU. Hope Christian’s Jollo Go flashed his vintage self as he sizzled in the second half of the game with a back-to-back three pointer in the opening of the fourth quarter. Go finished with 16 points for the team. Tzaddy “Tower of Power” Rangel amassed 18 points all inside the shaded lane, while Anton Miguel “White Mamba” Yang finished with game best 19 points. Harvey Pagsanjan fired 13 points and finished his and-1 game to help seal the lead for HCHS. Ken Mark Miranda was perfect from the free throw line with his 4-of-4 shooting. Miranda finished with 8 points and 3 rebounds. Lorenzo Celis had 6 points, Carlo Carino with 6, Chester Kyle Jacob with 4, Francia Sacundo 3, and Marvel Jimenez with 2 points.
    “I think the spread of scoring from the players worked on our advantage because that means we are hard to defend” said coach Jason Cabiltes of HCHS.
    “First of all, I would like to thanks God for the win. We hope to continue our wins, and we just need to do our system just like what we did today”, quipped Harvey Pagsanjan.
    “We prepared for this game but I think we need to adjust more in our next games. I think I need to improve more on my strength and free throw shooting” said the 6-foot-7 Tzaddy Rangel.
    “Our defense was good and I think at the very start we had control of the game. For our next games, I think I need to select my shots more” said Jollo Go, whose moves were impressive during the course of the game.
    “The effort of the team is great. I stepped up for the team today. I think I need to improve in the intensity of my defense for our next games”, said Anton Miguel Yang of HCHS.
    The Quarters: 23-9, 46-29, 71-52, 95-65

    Guest team Chiang Kai Shek College completed a perfect 9-0 season with a hard-earned 57-55 victory over host Saint Jude Catholic School Saturday afternoon (November 29) at the Philippine Cultural College Gym to annex the high school basketball title in the 17th Metropolitan Amateur Sports Association (MASA) competitions.
    Saint Jude Catholic School, which defeated 2013 titlist Hope Christian High School during their one-game semifinals, got off to a strong start as Daniel Edwin Pua punched in the Judenites’ first seven points, including a triple to answer CKSC frontliner Jonas Raphael Tibayan’s game-opening basket.
    SJCS last led at 9-7 on a pair of free throws by Renzel Yongco before Marc Raevin Calzado equalized the score, 9-all, with a fielder and subsequently grabbed a 14-11 advantage after the first quarter.
    Down 15-13, the Judenites scored five straight points on three freebies by Yongco (two) and Jack Stevenson Tai (one) and a fielder by comebacking Alec Johnson Billan, who had missed the semifinal due to an ankle injury, to move ahead, 18-15.
    Back-to-back baskets by Joshua Ramirez and Paolo Noelle Cataga and the Blue Dragons regained a 19-18 lead before Saint Jude seized momentum with another 5-0 run for a 23-19 edge. Following two free throws by Earl See, the boys of head coach Luis Nolasco were again up by four points, 29-25, with 6.1 seconds left in the half. It was the Judenites’ largest lead in the game.
    SJCS held on to a slim 29-28 lead at halftime. It was to be the last time that the team would be in the driver’s seat as it would play catch-up ball the rest of the way.
    Buoyed by the arrival of its bench boss Goldwin Monteverde just before the start of the second half, no thanks to the monstrous traffic in the Divisoria area, Chiang Kai Shek College opened the third period with six unanswered points as Tibayan sandwiched a Richmond Sedrick King jumper with a pair of fielder to shove the Blue Dragons to a 34-29 advantage.
    SJCS came within three, 37-34, with 3:55 left in the third quarter when CKSC scored the quarter’s final seven points, which was built around a fielder each by Calzado and Danilo Hernando and a three-point play by Tibayan, to enjoy its first double-digit lead, 44-34, after 30 minutes of action.
    Hernandez opend the payoff quarter with another basket to push CKSC’s lead to 46-34. Six consecutive charity shots by Yongco and a three-point play by Matthew Aaron Ang cut SJCS’s deficit to three, 46-43, at the 5:34 mark.
    Hernandez muffed a pair of free throws but Tibayan had a putback as the Blue Dragons increased their lead to five, 48-43. Following two free throws by Yongco, Tibayan scored on a layup off a Yongco miscue and Gershom Norman Montes made a basket for a 52-45 lead.
    SJCS did not roll over and die, though, even if See had fouled out at the 3:24 mark. Yongco got a follow-up off his own miss and, after missing a pair from the foul line, he consummated a three-point play as the Judenites trailed by just three, 53-50, time down to 2:19.
    Again, it was Tibayan to the rescue when he knocked in another basket at the 1:14 mark for a 55-50 CKSC edge.
    Another two freebies by Yongco 11 ticks later and SJCS’ deficit was back to three 55-52. Ramirez, who missed CKSC’s three previous assignments, converted two crucial foul shots with 54.6 seconds remaining as CKSC was again up by three, 57-52.
    Calvin Uy subsequently missed a triple at the 38.5-second mark and after Montes went 0-for-2 from the charity stripes for CKSC, Yongco himself misfired on his three-point attempt.
    SJCS got the rock back and Pua was free under the basket for a three-point play, 57-55, time down to 13.6 seconds. CKSC’s Dominque Ansis Cuevas went 0-for-2 from the foul line at the 10.8-second mark and SJCS had one last chance to equalize the score when Ang pulled down the rebound off Cuevas’ second FT miss. However, Pua threw a wild pass that was intercepted by Shasmasneh Ibanez at the buzzer.
    Tibayan led CKSC with 22 points. SJCS was led by Yongco, who tallied 15 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. Yongco shot only 3-for-17 from the field but was 17-for-22 from the charity stripes.
    In the third-place game, Hope Christian High School pulled off a 56-48 win over Saint Stephen’s High School.
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    Philippine Basketball


    Time Changes

    DATE: November 29, 2014 (Saturday)
    VENUE: Philippine Cultural College Gym
    TIME: 11:00 a.m. – Hope Christian High School vs. Stephen’s High School (3rd Place)
    12:30 p.m. – Chiang Kai Shek College vs. Saint Jude Catholic School (1st Place)
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    Philippine Basketball
  4. 17th MASA Basketball Finals: CKSC vs. SJCS

    It will guest team Chiang Kai Shek College against host Saint Jude Catholic School in the one-game finals of the 17th Metropolitan Amateur Sports Association (MASA) high school basketball tournament.

    D-Day (Decision Day) will be on Saturday, November 29, at the Philippine Cultural College Gym in Tondo, Manila. Just before the championship game (10:30 a.m.), deposed titlist Hope Christian High School and Saint Stephen’s High School will duke it out for third-place honors in the opener (9:00 a.m.) of Saturday’s doubleheader.

    The Chiang Kai Shek College Blue Dragons, who sport a lily-white 8-0 record in the eight-school, seven-week competitions, had destroyed the SJCS Judenites, 60-37, in their elimination-round faceoff last November 22, although both squads missed the services of some of their key players at the time.

    In that game, tree-like Jonas Raphael Tibayan showed up for the first time in the tournament and put together a double-double performance for CKSC with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

    During last Sunday’s semifinal playoffs, Chiang Kai Shek College brushed aside its twice-to-beat incentive and made quick work of fourth-seeded Saint Stephen’s High School, 65-46, while third-seeded Saint Jude Catholic School avenged its 79-63 elimination-round loss to Hope Christian High School by stunning the 2013 MASA titlist, 70-67, in their knockout encounter.

    Against the Stephenians (4-4), CKSC took control late in the first 10-minute quarter then outscored its foes, 22-7, in the second period to grab a sizeable 38-19 advantage at halftime. The Blue Dragons were never seriously challenged in the second half, enjoying a lead of at least 13 points throughout and their largest at 63-38 on a Robert John Minerva triple with four minutes remaining.

    Tibayan once again spearheaded CKSC’s offense with 15 markers along with six rebounds. Shamasneh Banez, another hulking frontliner, produced a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards and speedy guard Gershom Norman Montes also collected 10 markers.

    For Saint Jude Catholic School, it was off-the-chart to have beaten Hope Christian HS in the semifinals. The Warriors, who whipped the Judenites in the MASA finals a year ago, were ahead by as much as 22 points, 38-16, late in the first half notwithstanding the offensive woes of their scoring leader, National Youth Team member Jollo Go.

    As if it were a portent of things to come, Hope Christian surrendered the final five points of the half to lead by just 17, 38-21. It turned out to be the calm before the storm as Saint Jude made a huge game-altering turnaround in the third period, outscoring the Warriors, 29-9, to move ahead, 50-47, entering the final 10 minutes.

    The Judenites of bench boss Luis Nolasco erected a 67-57 lead with two minutes and 36 seconds remaining behind the heroics of Renzel Yongco, Maynard Yap, Earl See and Daniel Pua. But Hope Christian, however, was not done yet. A last-ditch rally put the Warriors within one point, 68-67, with 19.1 ticks left.

    Ahead 70-67, Saint Jude hung on to victory when Go, who labored offensively all game long, misfired on a trifecta attempt that could have forced a deadlock and sent the game into overtime.

    Four players scored in twin digits for the Judenites – See, 17 points; Pua, 17; Yongco, 15; and Yap 13. The team missed the services of burly frontliner Alec Johnson Billan due to an ankle injury he sustained against CKSC during their elims showdown.

    Go epitomized Hope Christian HS’ horrendous meltdown, collecting a frigid 12 points (on 4-of-25 FG and 4-of-10 FT shooting) without a single three-pointer (his trademark shot) throughout the game nor a field goal in the payoff quarter.

    Antonio Miguel Yang topscored for the Warriors with 14 markers and Kris Harvey Pagsanjan had eight of his 10 markers in the final canto.
    Chiang Kai Shek College is a slight favorite to repeat over Saint Jude Catholic School in the finals with its height advantage and deeper bench corps – granting the team comes in full force, of course.

    White they don’t own a legit go-to-guy, the Blue Dragons have a physical, tall lineup in Tibayen (18.5 ppg), Banez, Marc Erzel Quijano, Minerva, Adrian Martin Magada, Eric Anthony Guiao (9.8 ppg) and Joshua Ramirez (11.8 ppg) although Guiao and Ramirez have not shown up in CKSC’s last three assignments.

    Other CKSC contributors are backcourters Montes (10.5 ppg) and Richmond Sedrick King (7.9 ppg) and wingmen Jaylen Christian Ang (7.1 ppg) and Danilo Hernandez (6.8 ppg).

    For Saint Jude Catholic School, which has a 6-2 record, much of its strength lies in the troika of Yongco (16.0 ppg), See (13.5 ppg) and Yap (11.0 ppg), who ranked fifth, sixth and 14th, respectively, in the league in point production.

    Hardworking ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  5. Development and Imports

    So the UAAP has finally done it.

    Rod Roque of the University of the East, the UAAP Secretary-Treasurer for this season, declared in a sportswriters forum, "Starting Season 78 only one foreign player will be allowed in the lineup."

    “We are also thinking of the possibility that by 2015-2016, there will be no more recruitment of foreign players. Soon, there will be no foreign players na nandito. Patatapusin na lang,” Roque added further.

    That means that schools have up to academic year 2015 - 2016 only to recruit foreigners to play, at least in UAAP basketball.

    Considering the school that Roque represents has three African imports - Charles Mammie, Moustafa Arafat, and Bernard Awana - it is mighty strange that this policy should be passed during the year UE is the UAAP host. I mean, for cryin' out loud, a school with three imports of its own already in tow, one would think they would be among the most vociferous to object to such a policy, if only for selfish reasons.

    We are not privy to how the process went in arriving at this policy; a policy that has a profound impact on all UAAP schools. Roque was not able to elaborate too much if this just applies to college basketball or to all UAAP sports. I think this will be - even more controversially - confined only to the flagship men's senior division basketball event.

    I'm not sure how and why any UAAP school, especially the weaker programs, could go along with this policy.

    First of all, in basketball, height is still very much might. In our country, finding a quality player six feet or taller, especially in that sweet spot big man range of 6'4" and taller, is inherently difficult. Filipinos are on average only 5'4" or so in height. At 5'8" your humble servant is already considered tall in our country. Yet no one ever has, nor ever will be confused for a quality basketball player. Finding a credible, UAAP-senior grade guard (the usual position played by guys my size) is difficult as it is. How much more difficult could it be finding a credible UAAP-senior grade big man, 6'4" or taller, in a country that is made up of guys mostly a foot shorter?

    How then to make up for that gap? Recruit a quality import, usually from Africa. UE's Mammie, 6'7" and 250 pounds, built like the proverbial brick outhouse, arguably the most powerful board cleaner in the league, more than makes up for the lack of quality UE big men. Where would UE be without him?

    Some might say, without imports then nobody has an edge, especially in size. Tell that to National University, who had a 6'7" pogo stick with a jumpshot in Troy Rosario, or to Far Eastern, who has 6'4" do-it-all forward Mac Belo, or Lasalle, who had the pair of 6'6" Norbert Torres and 6'7" Arnold Van Opstal. FEU even has its own 6'7" pogo stick in Russell Escoto, who sat out part of this season with an assortment of injuries. All of these guys bring quality size up front.

    UE was somehow able to compete toe to toe with them just because they have Mammie, and Arafat as well. Next season they can only line up one import. What happens if Mammie gets into foul trouble?

    History will also show that imports do not offer much of an advantage. Look no further once again than newly-crowned champion NU. NU is the first team to have a star import win the men's senior basketball title in 6'6" Cameroonian Alfred Aroga. As good as Aroga is he got plenty of help from Rosario up front, and from the likes of Glenn Khobuntin, Gelo Alolino, Jay Alejandro, and Rev Diputado. So in 77 seasons the UAAP has crowned exactly one champion that had a star import. So it isn't as if NU won strictly, exclusively, and only because of Aroga.

    This of course is not the same with the NCAA. In eight of its last nine seasons, a team with a star import won their men's senior basketball title, the San Beda Red Lions.

    But again, it would be a fallacy to think that it is strictly, exclusively, and only because of their imports that San Beda has won eight of the last nine NCAA championships. Simplistically speaking, one might even argue that in 2009, the one gap in what should have been a 9-Peat dynasty, an All-Filipino San Sebastian squad beat a San Beda squad that even featured an American import in 6'8" Sudan Daniel, thus ending any talk that all it takes is a good import to guarantee a championship. The NCAA beat the UAAP to the punch in imposing its own import ban.

    That is why this total ban on imports makes no sense to me. It is as if college leagues are afraid of their own shadow.

    I submit that this will not really level the playing field all that much. Think back to say 1993, when Santo Tomas won the first of what would be a 4-Peat. There was a gap in 1997 when FEU won the title behind Onak Magtulis and Robin Mendoza. Then Lasalle had its own 4-Peat ...
    Philippine Basketball
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